I first came across Glennon Doyle Melton when searching through TED Talks to watch about mental illness. When I’m depressed or apathetic or frustrated or otherwise down, I find that watching TED Talks can really be helpful. The TED Talk where I first learned about Glennon Doyle Melton can be found here. She was inspiring and funny and fierce. I kept seeing Glennon’s new book, Love Warrior, mentioned at different places on the internet. I knew I needed to buy a copy when I signed up for a story telling course through Brené Brown’s Courage Works program and saw that not only was it recommended reading, but Glennon Doyle Melton would be the cohost of the course. I was hesitant about the book at first because I had gathered that it was about Melton’s marriage falling apart, which is something that I can’t relate to at all. I was so wrong about what the book is about. It is about something bad happening in her marriage, but it’s also about strength, courage, beauty, truth, struggle, and love. It’s about taking things one step at a time and just doing the next right thing. It’s about the easy buttons we use to numb our feelings when they get too big or real or scary.
Love Warrior isn’t just a story about a marriage, it’s a story about a woman becoming who she’s truly meant to be and learning to be still with discomfort. It’s about a reconciliation between mind, body, spirit, and the rules society has tried to impose on all three. I found myself identifying strongly with things Glennon had to say, even though my experiences have been very different from hers. It’s like she said, “pain the paradox of pain is that it is only universal in retrospect. In the present, it is fiercely personal.” She clearly articulates the rules of what it means to be a young girl, teenager, and woman in todays society so well that it’s heart breaking. “Every girl must decide whether to be true to herself or true to the world. Every girl must decide whether to settle for adoration or fight for love.” She also says, “How can I be expansive and free and still be loved? Am I going to be a lady or am I going to be fully human? Do I trust the unfolding and continue to grow, or do I shut all of this down so I fit?” She touches on the rules for men, as well, which gave me a new perspective even though I think of myself as fairly modern and forward thinking individual.
Love Warrior is full of great nuggets of wisdom such as the following:
- “Having something to say and no one to hear it is so lonely.”
- “Grief is nothing but a painful waiting, a horrible patience. Grief cannot be torn down or scaled or overcome or outsmarted. It can only be outlasted. Survival is surrender to the brick wall.”
- “Our story is the only thing we have that is completely our own. A person who steals it and uses it to entertain is the worst kind of thief.”
- “I learn that making decisions is never about doing the right thing or the wrong thing. It’s about doing the precise thing. The precise thing is always incredibly personal and often makes no sense to anyone else. God speaks to folks directly and one at a time, so I just listen and follow directions. And when I need to work anything out, I turn to the blank page. There, no one can steal my pain or try to poison my knowing, and there I always have the final word in my own story.”
- “I’m trying to strip myself down to my barest essentials so I can figure out where I begin and where the woman the world told me to be begins.”
Reading Love Warrior is like having a conversation with an old friend or revisiting a favorite author’s work. It reads a lot like Brené Brown, which is one of the highest compliments I can give a work of nonfiction. I would absolutely recommend this story of love and redemption to anyone who wants to learn more about themselves and what it means to be true to yourself.